Happy Birthday IBM PC


August 12th marks the 25th birthday of the computer that all “PC” users can trace their ancestry to: the IBM PC. I’ll spare you the anecdotes about the choice of MS-DOS over CP/M, or the crappiness of the PC architecture in general, or how project “Acorn” (as it was called) marked a major shift in the way that IBM did business, and ultimately, in the history of technology in general. I also won’t go into detail about how Don Estridge’s decision to get the system out the door fast by using off-the-shelf parts and an open architecture paved the way for all of the PC clones, and led to a PC on pretty much every desk here in 2006. It’s late at night as I’m writing this, and, if you care, you probably already know all about that stuff.

An initial review of the system (thank you google groups, formerly dejanews), is amusing. “even the I/O cards are separate!” So lets take a minute to both curse and praise the folks at IBM, particularly the late Don Estridge, for the legacy left by the IBM model 5150, better known as the IBM PC.
275px-IBM_PC_5150.jpg

Ahh this is bringing back memories of autoexec.bat, config.sys, emm386.exe, IRQ conflicts, command.com and the like. But my favorite DOS error message (who is general failure, and why is he reading my hard drive?) is an oldie but a goodie for those of this computing generation:

General failure reading drive C:
Abort, Retry, Fail?

  1. #1 by errhode on August 13, 2006 - 3:14 am

    Looks like Benoc got fishginaed.

  2. #2 by benoc on August 13, 2006 - 4:01 pm

    Fisginaed? How do you figure?

  3. #3 by Scott on August 15, 2006 - 4:42 pm

    I remember writing BASIC programs on a IBM XT when I was little. The keyboard had a distinct springy feel to it that reminded me of the 3270 terminals in my father’s office. I can still recall the pleasantly unique sound of the 10 megabyte MFM hard disk seeking. Those things were solidly built, too.